State Senator Jason Lewis joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate in voting for a rules package on Thursday, February 9 that will require all legislative public hearings to be conducted in a hybrid manner, which means that members of the public can participate either in person at the State House or remotely. The rules package governs the operations of the state legislature for the duration of the new legislative session (2023-24).
Prior to the pandemic, almost all public hearings held by the state legislature – where members of the public can provide testimony in support or opposition to proposed legislation – took place at the State House in Boston and required in-person attendance. During the pandemic, public hearings were held online, and members of the public were able to testify remotely. Hybrid public hearings offer the flexibility and convenience for public participation in the legislative process to be either in person or remote. This maximizes the opportunity for all members of the public to participate in state government, making the process more inclusive and encouraging civic engagement.
“I strongly support all measures that increase transparency and public participation in our government,” said Senator Lewis. “This builds greater trust in our public institutions, improves the lawmaking process, and ultimately strengthens our democracy.”
The Massachusetts House of Representatives has also voted to require legislative public hearings to be conducted in a hybrid format during this legislative session.